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Can a Homeowner Be Held Liable For Injuries To a Construction Worker?

15 may 2019

For a homeowner, hiring contractors and construction teams to complete improvements can significantly increase the equity in their home. However, there is a reason that homeowners hire professionals to do the work, as most construction projects come with serious risks.

What happens when a construction worker is injured while working on a home? Who is liable? What are the worker’s legal options? Anyone injured while completing construction work in New York City should consult with an experienced construction accident lawyer regarding their rights.

Liability for Home Construction Accidents

When owners of buildings contract for construction work, New York labor law requires them to ensure that the conditions are safely maintained for the crew to complete the work. In many cases, there is an exception to this requirement for owners of one or two-family dwellings. Therefore, if a construction worker is completing a job on a one or two-family home, the homeowner will usually not be liable for accidents and injuries that occur during the construction project.

There are important exceptions to the above rule, however, which allow for homeowner liability for injuries to construction workers. First, homeowners will open themselves up to liability if they take an active role in the project, and they direct or control the work. For example, if a homeowner dictates exactly how they want the contractor or crew to complete a job, step-by-step, they can be liable if a worker is injured while following those specific directions.

In addition, a homeowner of a smaller dwelling may be liable if their own negligence led to the accident. Imagine that a homeowner hires contractors to paint or repair the outside of their home, but they fail to tell the workers that the porch is rotting and may collapse at any moment. While working on the porch, a worker falls through and suffers serious injuries. In this case, the homeowner may be liable for failing to warn of the known hazards on the property.

Construction Dangers in New York City

While construction work is always potentially dangerous, working on buildings and homes in Manhattan and the surrounding areas can be particularly risky. This is partly because much of this work requires scaffolds, ladders, and jobs completed at great heights. Even if a homeowner may not be liable for an accident, New York law does hold contractors and construction companies liable for falls from scaffolding and other heights. This “scaffold law” requires companies to provide safe equipment and protection for employees and, when they fail to do so, the companies should be liable for any injuries that result.

Contact Our New York City Construction Injury Attorneys as Soon as Possible

Construction work can result in serious and life-changing injuries, and workers should always be fully aware of their rights after an accident - whether they were working on a home or a large building. The law firm of Lipsig, Shapey, Manus & Moverman represents injured construction workers in and around New York City, so please call 212-285-3300 or contact us online for your free case evaluation today.